This year’s Monlam at Tsechen Kunchab Ling (Temple of All-Encompassing Great Compassion) in Walden, New York, will be the first Monlam organized by the Sakya lineage in North America. This will be an auspicious opportunity for practitioners from all over the world to come together with some of the great masters living today.

The merit that will be generated by the gurus, participants, sponsors, and volunteers will benefit the spread of Buddhism in North America and across the world. In this context, merit (sonam in Tibetan) refers to the accumulation of positive thoughts, words, and deeds, which ripen to produce temporary happiness and ultimately—when joined with the accumulation of wisdom realized through meditative insight—spiritual liberation.

We dedicate the merit accumulated through our collective aspirations for the long life of all holy gurus and upholders of the Buddha’s teachings; the proliferation and endurance of the teachings themselves; and the spread of peace, health, and happiness throughout the world. Also, we pray that even the words “poverty,” “sickness,” “violence,” and “warfare” will fade from memory. May all beings attain perfect enlightenment, and may we attain perfect enlightenment to help others accomplish the same.

So, although this Monlam will be held in New York State, the scope of its aspiration is truly universal.

Image – Himalayan Art Resources Inc. / Rubin Museum of Art

Through the boundless merit gained by so dedicating
This Aspiration to Noble Deeds,
May the countless beings drowning in the torrent of suffering
Reach the stage of Amitabha.
~ Samantabhadra’s Aspiration to Noble Deeds, Verse 62